James Smith was born around 1872. He was living in Toronto at a young age but eventually moved to Galt, Ontario where he was working as a domestic for Andrew and Sarah Turnbull. It is presumed that James stayed with this family until 1899 when he was committed to the Poorhouse on February 2, 1899 by William S. Turnbull, the Police Magistrate of Galt and a relative to Andrew Turnbull. He was committed for being a vagrant. He remained at the House for about 9 months before he was discharged on October 30. After this point, the House Registry states that he “shot himself in Toronto 3 weeks after”. 


Register of Paupers, Vagrants, and Idiots received at the House of Industry and Refuge; Source: Region of Waterloo Archives


There is a death certificate for John Smith which states that he died on November 22, 1899 from being “strangled”, suggesting that he did commit suicide like the House of Refuge Registry indicated.


John Smith’s Death Certificate; Source: ancestry.ca